Rays, Price agree to $14M deal for 2014, but still could be traded

Rays pay Price frachise's largest one-year salary

Tampa - The Rays have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher David Price for the 2014 season, avoiding arbitration.  He will earn $14 million.

The contract gives Price the largest one-year salary in franchise history, but still could be traded

Price, 28, is a three-time All-Star (2010-12) and in 2012 became the first pitcher in Rays history to win the American League Cy Young Award.

  In 2013, he went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA (186.2-IP, 69-ER) in 27 starts despite missing 44 games with a left triceps strain.  His 5.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio (151-SO, 27-BB) led the AL and ranked fourth all-time among AL lefthanders.

Following his return from the disabled list on July 2, Price went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA (131.2-IP, 37-ER) in 18 starts with 102 strikeouts and only 13 walks. 

During that time he led the major leagues in innings pitched, complete games (four) and fewest pitches per inning (13.8). 

His final complete game came in the September 30 tiebreaker game at Texas, when he became the fifth pitcher in major league history to record a complete-game victory in a one-game tiebreaker.

A six-year veteran, Price is the Rays all-time leader in ERA (3.19) and winning percentage (.645, 71-39) and ranks second behind James Shields in wins (71), games started (147), innings pitched (973.0), strikeouts (876) and complete games (eight). 

Price made $10.1125 million in 2013, at the time a record-high salary for a pitcher in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Tampa Bay is still on the hook for $4 million of that salary this year, as it was deferred until 2014.

Price struggled early on last season, but he returned to his Cy Young Award form down the stretch, going 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts, with 102 strikeouts and only 13 walks.

During that time, he led the Majors in innings pitched, complete games (four) and fewest pitchers per inning (13.8).

Considering Price's salary and the Rays' traditionally low budget, as well as his impending free agency after the 2015 season, he said in October that he expected to be traded this offseason.

But the Rays have made it clear that the club doesn't have to trade Price this winter, and the speculation about the ace's future has calmed down recently.

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